“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~Oscar Wilde
The journey to meeting, loving, and re-parenting my inner child was a long time coming.
In 2018, I went through a devastating breakup. I’d been through breakups before. They suck, they hurt, some of them left me in deep abysses of sadness for a long time, but this one was something different.
I can honestly say I felt levels of pain I did not know were survivable for a human being. Many days, I did not want to survive; I couldn’t imagine continuing to be in that …
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi
Three years back was the first time I dared to set a boundary and be assertive in a friendship, and guess what? She blocked me off her phone, and we stopped being friends.
It came as a rude shock because I was quite invested in the friendship. Not only did we have good times together, I had helped her search and find a job and even babysat her kid for a long while free of charge. I felt betrayed …
“The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you’re with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself every day.” ~Nishan Panwar
Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you felt supported? When was the last time you felt safe, at home, encouraged, and able to be 100% yourself?
If your partner creates a safe space for you to do this, then you are truly blessed. If not, have you ever wondered why you don’t feel safe, supported, and loved?
Two years ago my best friend told …
“How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” ~Paulo Coelho
By nature, I am a happy, optimistic, idealistic person. I have always been one to look on the bright side and see the good in people. My usual philosophy in life is that the world is full of brightness, love, and possibilities to seize.
Recently, though, my philosophy began to fade in the face of a mild depression.
I began to cry a lot and retreat into myself rather than being social and opening up, which only furthered the problem. I felt …
“Never feel sorry for choosing yourself.” ~Unknown
I was eleven years old, possibly twelve, the day I first discovered my mother’s betrayal. I assume she didn’t hear me when I walked in the door after school. The distant voices in the finished basement room of our home drew me in. My mother’s voice was soft as she spoke to her friend. What was she hiding that she didn’t want me to hear?
I leaned in a little bit closer to the opening of the stairs… She was talking about a man she’d met. Her voice changed when she spoke of …
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” ~Jim Morrison
When I left my full-time position at an ad agency and ventured out on my own, I had a clear goal in mind—to connect with likeminded people who align with my highest good. As far as how I was going to do that, I had little clue.
My life was full of relationships built from forced, sometimes toxic circumstances where we found each other out of need or convenience. I am grateful for each of those people because they were there when I needed them most, …
“Your inner critic is simply a part of you that needs more self-love.” ~Amy Leigh Mercee
We all have that critical and judgmental inner voice that tells us we’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc.
It tells us we don’t do anything right. It calls us stupid. It compares us to other people and speaks harshly about ourselves and our bodies. It tells us all the things we did or said “wrong” after communicating or connecting with someone.
Sometimes it projects criticism outward onto others so we can feel better about ourselves. Other times we try to …
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” ~Maya Angelou
Growing up in Africa, I was told that the virtue and worth of a woman lies in her ability to take care of everyone around her; that a woman was considered good or worthy when everyone around her was happy and pleased with her. I took this advice to heart, especially since I watched my mother meet this standard to a T. Putting everyone else, including strangers, above herself.
Most of the Things We Learn as Kids
“You don’t have to rebuild a relationship with everyone you’ve forgiven.” ~Unknown
It’s natural, when you’re hurting and lonely, to want to reach out to people you’ve been close to in the past.
Especially if there’s unfinished business with someone. And especially given the added isolation that comes with a global pandemic.
Whether or not you do reach out is entirely your prerogative. For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea to try—in most cases, a “Whoops” is better than a “What if…?” Whatever the result, you’ll learn something. It might be …
“No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.” ~Alice Walker
When I was a child and in my early teenage years, I was a free bird. I laughed easily, loved life, never worried, and dreamed big. I thought the best of others, the glass was always full. I never dreamed others would hurt me, and I had a joyful and playful attitude toward life.
That was a long time ago.
My breakdown started gradually and slowly with judgments from a very close and trusted family member I dare not name. This person, though …
“Each of us has an inner compass. This is an instinct that points us toward health. It warns us when we are on dangerous ground, and it tells us when something is safe and good for us.” ~Julia Cameron
After I broke up with Mr. Wonderful, I found out that he was a predator.
When I realized who he really was, I stood in my home shaking in fear and feeling sick to my stomach. I was horrified. My mind raced with terrifying images of what could have happened to me if I had not followed my instincts and left …
“We eventually learn that emotional closure is our own action.” ~David Deida
When my last relationship ended, I didn’t really understand why. After eight years together and still feeling love for each other, my partner walked away saying he didn’t feel able to commit.
He didn’t want to work on the relationship because he felt that nothing would change for him. So, I had no choice but to let it end and do everything I could to pick myself up from deep grief, intensified by great confusion.
Now, over a year later, I still cannot give you a definitive reason …
“Don’t try to understand everything, because sometimes it’s not meant to be understood, but accepted.” ~Unknown
As a child, I never had the opportunity to develop a sense of self. I had a father who was a drug addict. A mother who was abused by my father. And later, we had my mom’s possessive and controlling boyfriend. It was tough finding a consistent role model in the mix.
I was one of four kids and we grew up in a trailer, sharing one bunk bed among us all. As children, we often would brutally fight with each other. We …
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes when you take nothing personally.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz
Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time I took something personally…
I’d be rich by now.
When I quit my corporate job in Paris and took a year off traveling people would often ask me, “So, what’s your plan now?” A normal question to ask, I know. But back then, I usually got offended by that question and other follow-up ones. It made me think that others were judging my decision and questioning my ability to change career …
“Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted—it is an intimate date with yourself.” ~Paul TP Wong
I’ve found journaling is a polarizing activity. People love it or hate it. (If you are in the latter group, don’t worry, you’ll still get a lot out of this!) Personally, I’ve hit both ends of the spectrum at different points in my life.
I spent many years in a place of self-loathing. I truly believed I was just not blessed with being born a likable person. And this belief fueled decades of social anxiety, avoiding parties, coming up with lame excuses to …
“True forgiveness comes when you realize there is something totally radiant inside you, that nobody could ever touch” ~Eckhart Tolle
I grew up in an emotionally abusive household.
My father was a man who diligently provided for us, but he left me with scars and shattered self-esteem.
My mother cooked me my favorite foods and let me sleep in her bed when I was scared, but she attacked my insecurities when I frustrated her. My friends played nasty pranks, but she wiped my tears as we both tried to survive my religious, cult-like school together.
As a kid, I didn’t …